What You Need to Know
Tractor suitcase weights are common items used to add weight for traction and grip – also known as ballast – to your sub-compact, compact, and standard tractor. This is needed because anything that causes a shift in the center of gravity of your tractor, such as uneven ground, can cause your tractor to tip and overturn. Pulling any sort of implement can also cause the center of gravity to shift, so adding weight with your load keeps your tractor evenly distributed and the driver safe.
Suitcase weights are a great option for adding this weight for a number of reasons.
- They are available in different sizes and colors to best fit your tractor.
- They are easy to grasp by their handle, just like a suitcase.
- They are easy to switch out, so if you need to add additional weight or alternatively, take some weight off, you can do so quickly and efficiently.
- They are compact and easy to store so that any you aren’t using won’t take up a lot of space.
Before we dive any deeper, though, let’s take a quick look at the science and mechanics of tractors and ballast.
Tractors and ballast - a brief history
Tractors were invented as a way to replace the work done by animals, primarily horses and oxen, which were used to pull carts and plows since ancient times.
Today’s tractors essentially do the same thing as their four-legged predecessors; they are machines designed to pull things slowly and methodically. Regardless of their size, they are capable of pulling different types of implements or machines. These include plows, trailers, manure spreaders, hay balers and more, and they are connected to the tractor via a hitch.
The most common type of hitch is a three-point hitch, first developed in the 1920s. In the last several decades, quick hitches have become popular because, as the name suggests, they allow the user to change rear tractor implements very quickly.
Along with helping implements attach to the tractor, hitches also provide a tractor with more grip, making it more stable and secure.
Although a hitch provides some stability to sub-compact, compact, or regular size tractor, oftentimes they will need extra weight or ballast. This not only add to its safety and stability, but it also gives the tractor more power as it works with whatever implement you’ve attached to it.
As already mentioned, ballasting is adding additional weight to your tractor to balance out the weight added by an implement in order to keep the tractor stable and safe. It also increases the traction and torque transfer of the tractor giving it more “umph” as it does its work.
Throughout the course of your tractor’s life, your ballast needs will change based on the attachments you are using. So, it probably makes sense that you want a solution that makes changing the weight on your tactor easy and quick.
There are many ways you can add ballast to your sub-compact or compact tractor but in this article we are going to focus on just two: a ballast box and suitcase weights. Let’s review each.
This a box that attaches to your three-point hitch that you can fill with sand, rocks, concrete or other material to make it heavy, based on how much weight you need. While ballast boxes can be compact, they also can be cumbersome when you need to remove some of the materials in the box to reduce the weight. What’s more, they can be difficult to move and store, if filled with material.
These are individual weights made from cast iron that come in different sizes, such as 42-, 70- or 100-pound weights. Like a suitcase, they have a handle and a notched design that make it easy to slip onto the back of a hitch that has a weight bracket, such as Heavy Hitch.
We manufacture four different models of quick hitches, three of which include a weight bracket for suitcase weights. The location of the weight bracket varies by the model of the hitch. Our Super Duty hitch, for example, is our original Heavy Hitch and the smallest. On this, the weight bracket is located in the center and is lower than it is in the other two hitches. This limits you to using only 42-pound weights and is great for a subcompact tractor.
Our Offset Hitch is taller than the Super Duty, and the weight bracket is offset from the center to the back. With this, you can use a variety of suitcase weights, such as the 70-pound, 55-pound or 42-pound options.
Our Dual Bracket Hitch is even higher and more offset than the Offset Hitch and allows the most weight possible of any Heavy Hitch. This hitch has two brackets to use; you can use 70-pound weights in the back, and 42-pound weights in the front.
BENEFITS OF TRACTOR SUITCASE WEIGHTS OVER A BALLAST BOX
There are several benefits to tractor suitcase weights when compared to a ballast box.
Benefits Of Tractor Suitcase Weights:
- Plenty of clearance – they sit high enough off the ground so that even if the tractor is driving at a steep grade, the weights won’t scrape the ground, whereas a ballast box sits lower to the ground.
- Compact – although they very in weight and size, no tractor suitcase weight is so big that it’s not easy to work with. They take up less room than a ballast box, and even when you use several together, they still take up less room
- Flexible and versatile – you can use them in tandem with each other to come up with different weight combinations for your tractor, and you can use them on both the front and the rear of your tractor (although not at the same time).
There are some stark differences between a ballast box and suitcase weights. For a more detailed demonstration of these differences, and to see each in action, check out this video by Tractor Time with Tim:
Our Tractor Suitcase Weights
You have many options when it comes to who makes your tractor suitcase weights. Heavy Hitch is one such option with suitcase weights that come in three sizes – 42-pounds, 70-pounds and 100 pounds – as well as in two colors – black and John Deere green. They are compatible with several sub-compact tractor brands such as John Deere, Kubota, Case International, New Holland and more.
John Deere and MTD also manufacture suitcase weights, and each can be used in tandem with each other. In other words, most suitcase weights are made in the same style and are brand agnostic.
You may be wondering how many suitcase weights you can use at once with our hitches. The answer to that depends of the type of hitch you are using.
A category 0 hitch will hold up to six suitcase weights while a category 1 hitch will hold up to eight. These hitches will accept tractor suitcase weights from John Deere, MTD, and Heavy Hitch tractor suitcase weights.
Are Tractor Suitcase Weights Your Best Option for Ballast?
Tractor suitcase weights are the easiest solution for adding ballast to your subcompact or compact tractor. They are easy to use, are compact, and allow you to add as much or as little weight as you need in a quick efficient manner. They also store easily and don’t take up a lot of room.
Despite thinking otherwise, they ship easily. Once you have the suitcase weights you need, you are good to go. You won’t need to order more unless, of course, your ballast needs change.